C’mon now, admit it. You did, didn’t you. You were attracted to this edition by the headline. You thought it must be a post about John McAfee fleeing Belize with Samantha Vanegas , his girlfriend at the time, in December 2012 (yes, it was that long ago).
But no, it’s not about that so if you clicked to read about the eccentric McAfee now is the time to leave this blog post and search again. I really don’t want you here under false pretences because it has nothing at all to do with McAfee. It’s all about the lobster.
Since first coming to Ambergris Caye back in 1998 I’ve spent a fair bit of time with lobsters. Although I have to admit that I first fell in love with a lobster much, much earlier. Around 1985 I think.
I’d been invited out to lunch by a business acquaintance, an older and far more worldly chap than me. And a far, far, far more wealthy chap as well. “Would I like to go to The Ivy” he asked. “Absolutely” I replied without a moments hesitation. I knew of the restaurant but never dreamt I’d actually go there. This is a restaurant that unless you are “someone” or know someone who “is someone” you can wait months to get a table.
It was there that I lost my lobster virginity. My recall is that I was all fingers and thumbs as I undressed the lobster but as inexperienced as I was I’ll never forget that first time. Well you don’t, do you! And you know what. It created an insatiable craving. Overnight I became a lobsterholic.
So you can imagine (or maybe you can’t) my unbridled joy when Charles Worthington – he of Estel’s Dine By the Sea fame – asked me if I’d like to join him when he went out to empty his lobster traps.
Now I haven’t stuttered since being called to the front of the classroom by the teacher for committing a misdemeanour as a very young and extremely shy schoolboy. “Ye, ye, yes please” I excitedly replied”.
So yesterday morning around 10.30 hours I met Charles outside a locked up Estel’s . It was Tuesday and as regular readers and frequenters of this fine establishment will know, it’s closed on Tuesdays.
Normally when it looks like this i.e. closed, I start to get withdrawal symptoms but not this time.
Time to get on the boat
and head out to sea
whilst Cha Cha started getting the gear ready.
I should (well I don’t have to but I do want to) mention that as we cast off we heard the sound of thunder in the distance. Unperturbed though we headed south and then east and hadn’t been going too long when Charles ‘cut’ the engine. We’d arrived at the first lobster trap.
Cha Cha and Charles hooking the lobster trap. Charles’ attention though was definitely on the dark ominous clouds that were getting closer and closer to us.
A quick look inside revealed that the trap was empty. There’s no way of knowing for sure (unless the trap is put back in the water the wrong way up) but had a poacher been at work?
The sky by this time had got darker and darker and Charles and Cha Cha frantically scrubbed the algae from the trap – apparently lobsters don’t like this – and placed it back on the bed of the sea. Charles then started the engine and,looking behind him at the rain getting ever closer to us, opened up the throttle and we bounced our way across the waves. It was as if he was challenging the rain to catch us if you can!
He made a valiant effort as we saw his hut getting ever closer but then the rain caught up and then engulfed us. Cold -yes cold – biting rain drenched us in seconds and by the time we moored up I looked and felt like a drowned rat (no, there are no photos).
I scampered in to the hut (I’m no fool) while Cha Cha and Charles secured the boat.
We holed up in the hut
for around thirty minutes until the rain stopped and the dark clouds were replaced with a bright, sunny sky. Time to get back in the boat and get to those traps!
“Goodbye safe refuge”.
The second trap gave us what we were out there for, the spiny lobster or the Panulirus argus
Get the hatch open and get the lobster out
and in to the livewell.
We visited the remainder of Charles’ traps and then it was time for Cha Cha to put on the flippers , mask and snorkel and dive down to the shades that Charles has placed on the seabed.
If you look hard you can just see the shade beneath Cha Cha.
Charles and I whittled away the time talking about what could be done to enhance the well being of lobster . Charles would like to see size restrictions at both ends of the scale. Keep the existing minimum size restriction but add a restriction that would see lobsters over a certain size thrown back. Apparently the bigger ones are more prolific breeders.
We were still talking when Cha Cha emerged from the water
clutching a handful of lobster.
All too soon (well for me anyway) we’d visited all of the shades and it was time to head back to shore
and to moor up in front of Estel’s
and start cleaning our catch
Aided with a Belikin. It’s thirsty work catching lobsters you know!
And here’s the ones that I took from one of the traps.
Honestly, I did. Ask Charles!
I had a fantastic day. Both fun and interesting. So much so I’m going to use the ‘A’ word to describe it. Yes, it was amazing.
The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1965 by The Dave Clark Five which reached number five on the UK Singles Chart and number four on the US Billboard Hot 100.